On the surface the town of Batu Pahat looks modern and clean.
You will be impressed with BP walk the place youngsters and the old alike, hang out till the wee hours of the morning. “Orang BP” are so proud of their BP walk and their coffee tradition.The place for good food and good coffee. Bintang Walk on a small scale with new world warongs. The Padang is impressive. There are more malls then Kajang, Seremban or Muar. There are many luxury cars on the road. You will see that it is a thriving and prosperous township and district.
Scratch a little harder. After the asam pedas, peep into the drains, the filth of BP would be revealed. But the makan places are thriving. People are oblivious. As long as the lontong , the satay, the mee rebus and the asam pedas taste good. As if It is an exotic combination, the combination of filth and good food, very anthony bordainne.
The area around the market has not changed much, as filthy as it was during the 70s. This is Malaysia, and BP is not that bad, you may say, but drive out beyond the facade and excuses. Drive to Minyak Beku, and I did.
The only sea frontage asset that BP has, is Minyak Beku. Lo behold, it has has been abused and neglected. The environment, in this case, Minyak Beku tells a lot more about the people. It tells the story of the business community, the society, the administration and political leadership beyond the facade of the township and municipality. Beyond the “biasalah” of a local government administration.
MInyak Beku, the place where the Perigi gave Batu Pahat its name, my favourite camping place during my school days. It is a promontory at the mouth of the Batu Pahat river. Save for the lighthouse and a radar station, the promontory is gone. Left standing were a few concrete structures of what was once a quarry..
It was not as bad as this. The meandering road used to be lined with durian orchards, serene kampongs, but what you see now are haphazard factories. There were many unhealthy coconut palms and durian trees, the foliage being enveloped in dust. The culprit? a hungry quarry in full steam. What you get are miles of dusty third world environment.
Where there was no quarrying, you see barren hills with excessive erosion. Deep gullies made it look like a miniature Little Canyons.
As we approached Minyak Beku there were dump sites by the roadside. My son, Adam noticed the urbanised wild (stray) dogs which were aplenty.
There were ramshackle huts that they turned into food stalls. There were Orang Laut selling oysters and cockles. At RM 1 per piece it is a bargain but I dare not touch them. The orang laut man cleared the hut of debris and rubbish by pushing and sweeping it aside. That summed up the attitude of the populace. As long as my domicile is clean. Who cares about what is outside my territory.
What is our country becoming into? During my camping days we embraced the innocence and idealism of youth, we have been brought up to hope that the country will be a better place, but what I saw was disheartening.
Why? why? why? How could this happen? This is my take. A one liner, the consequence of greed of a corrupting minority thriving on a apathetic populace combined with inept regulatory authorities subservient to corrupt little sultans and little napoleons.
Another one liner, there is easy money in quarrying.
Shame on you Batu Pahat. Shame on you Johor. Shame on you Malaysia. You are so third world. At least the orang laut do not destroy the hill and pollute.